Big 2nd half sparks Cougs

It truly was a tale of two halves for the College of Charleston.

In the first half, the Cougars could do little right against Furman, the worst team in the Southern Conference.

In the second half, the Cougars were nearly perfect.

Anthony Stitt scored 15 points and handed out five assists to lead the Charleston past Furman, 74-50, on Saturday afternoon at Timmons Arena in Greenville.

The Cougars (22-9, 14-4 SoCon) trailed the Paladins (6-23, 3-15) by 11 points midway through the first half, missing their first eight shots from the floor. The Paladins used a 2-3 zone to slow down the Cougars offense.

“It wasn’t a very good first half,” said College of Charleston coach Doug Wojcik. “We just didn’t make our shots. We didn’t execute.”

The second half was a different story.

The Cougars shot 68 percent from the floor, making 19 of 28 shots, including 6 of 11 from 3-point range. It was a welcome performance after struggling with their shooting the last month.

“I think it was a really big breakout game for us offensively,” Wojcik said. “Truth be told, the last four weeks, we haven’t shot the ball very well. I’m hoping that his performance will give us some momentum going into the (SoCon) tournament next week.”

The Paladins have been plagued by injuries all season and had just seven scholarship players available Saturday. The Cougars took advantage of the Paladins’ lack of depth in the second half, pushing the tempo and getting easy baskets in transition.

“I thought Andrew (Lawrence) was more aggressive in the second half,” Wojcik said. “Andrew didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but he pushed the ball up the floor.”

The Paladins held an 18-7 lead on Colin Reddick’s dunk with 10:44 to play in the first half. But the Cougars answered with a run of their own to cut the lead to 27-23 at halftime as Stitt connected on a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left.

The Cougars used a 22-5 run to start the second half and grabbed a 45-32 lead on Nori Johnson’s 3-pointer with 12:48 to play.

The Cougars followed that up with a 20-0 run over the next five minutes to break the game open as Charleston led by as many as 30 points in the second half.

Trent Wiedeman had 13 points and nine rebounds, while Johnson and Lawrence each chipped in 10 points. Willis Hall had nine points and a game-high 15 rebounds.

The Cougars finished the regular season with an 11-2 road record.

Charleston next plays Saturday at 8:30 p.m. in the quarterfinals of the SoCon tournament in Asheville, N.C., against the Western Carolina-Citadel winner.